My husband and I had never cruised before, always dreamed about it so this cruise was to be our 25th wedding anniversary present to each other. We chose Radiance of the Seas as it was the only cruise ship actually sailing on the date of our anniversary, from a nearby country.
Our first impression of the ship was it was huge and really beautiful inside and out. Our cabin was bigger than I expected and had a lot more cupboard space than we thought we would have. Booking in and getting on board was a real breeze and crew were so pleasant and helpful. There were all ages on board, families, honeymooners, couples, elderly, teenagers.
Now I know there are different strokes for different folks, so this is what we thought about the cruise. Before going on board we had spoken to many people that had been on cruises but none of them had been with Royal Caribbean and everyone had given us very positive feedback about their cruises. So yes, we probably had very high expectations.
WE bought the dining package for $75 to eat at (Giovannis, Izumi, Chops Grill and Samba) and bought a soda package, which I would highly recommend to purchase to anyone.
The reason we took this cruise was for our 25 anniversary. Our TA told us they would make a huge fuss about our anniversary as she had informed them about it. We informed our stateroom attendant the day we arrived and asked him to make that day special for us (which he did not). The morning of our anniversary came and went and nothing happened it was just like any other day. In the late afternoon went down to Guest relations and mentioned to them and informed them we would be eating at Samba Grill (we chose this speciality restaurant to celebrate our anniversary as we have a similar restaurant to that in Auckland and go there on very very special occasions (21st etc). Guest relations informed us they would advise the manager of Samba Grill and they would make a fuss. We had our meal and no mention of a celebration at all. So you can imagine this had been a very average day out at sea for us. I was totally disappointed, we had saved so long for this day and this occasion and it turned out to be just a normal day out at sea. Tracy from Guest Relations tried to rectify things once she heard about our disappointment (bless her), but we will never get that day back. The manager from Samba Grill a few days later phoned and apologised and said he wanted to apologise personally and he would meet us at Izumi that night, well he was a no show and the day before getting off the cruise he phoned again and blamed the manager of Izumi for not letting him know we were there (poor excuse as I informed him what time we would be eating at Izumi). He could probably hear my anger by this time and said he would come and apologise personally this being the last night of our cruise, remembering our anniversary was on 3 night of cruise and this was 11th night of the cruise. He came and apologised but once again blamed the manager from Izumi.
I found the other speciality restaurants Giovanni's, Izumi and Chops Grill the food was above average and would highly recommend them and would definitely give them a 9 out of 10 for food and service. Samba Grill well I would give them a 2 out of 10 for service and food and not just because our experience with them left a bad taste in our mouths (excuse the punn), service could have been better and food as well.
One thing I found I couldn't sleep at night as our air conditioning was too hot. We called maintenance in and they came immediately, but said it was at it's coolest, so I just had to suffer in silence.
Now I know this sounds like a very negative review, maybe our expectations were to high. We met with other cruisers and made friends with them and all had been on previous cruisers with P & O and other liners and said they were disappointed in the amount of activities whilst at sea and felt that they should of had less activities whilst we were on shore (of course they understood people remained on the ship but seemed to have more activities when we were on shore than when we were out at sea.) When getting drinks at certain places we found that the bar staff seem to have the attitude they were doing you a favour (not being friendly like the staff at Windjammer) We found the staff at Windjammer really cheerful and helpful. These friends who have something to compare this cruise to, have said they were very disappointed in Radiance of the Seas in their organisation, activities and the friendliness and cheerfulness of the staff. The one couple had been on Rhapsody of the Seas previously and found this cruise to be a real downer.
We did some shore excursions and found it to be very well organised.
This was our first cruise ever, would we cruise again? Hell yeah, but not sure it would be with Radiance of the Seas. See what I mean about a mixed bag!!!!